Prof. Berk Sunar and Graduate Students Receive 'Best Paper Award' from IBM

From left: Deniz Karakoyunlu, Prof. Berk Sunar, Selçuk Baktir

ECE Prof. Berk Sunar and graduate students, Selçuk Baktir and Deniz Karakoyunlu, exemplify the high quality of research at WPI.  Their paper, co-authored with Dakshi Agrawal and Pankaj Rohatgi from IBM and entitled, "Trojan Detection using IC Fingerprinting", has been selected from 130 worldwide submissions as one of three winners of IBM Research's 2007 Pat Goldberg Memorial Best Paper Award in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Math. The prize includes a $2500 monetary award and Best Paper plaque for each author.


Malicious functionality in Integrated Circuits (IC) could devastating effects, not only for national security but also for  commercial applications. As the fabrication of advanced microchips migrates offshore, the trustworthiness and integrity of IC becomes of paramount importance.

Traditional approaches using destructive analysis are both extremely costly and risky because sampling can miss some attacks.  This paper identifies an ingenious and ground-breaking alternative to traditional approaches that both largely reduces costs and lowers the risk by verifying positively every chip.  Exploiting techniques from side-channel analysis (template attacks), it proposes non-invasive and robust method to compare candidate chips against the fingerprint of a reference chip based on the signal emission characteristics.  The paper, presented at the premier security conference in the field, covers both the theory as well as very promising experimental results on feasibility and robustness.  This work has the potential to have a wide-ranging impact on secure chip manufacturing and as such was already recognized by DARPA by a seedling grant.

Read the official IBM press release.

August 25, 2008